Grave Board in the Form of a Paddle

Grave Board in the Form of a Paddle

1300–1500 CE
Inca | Ica
Ica Valley
board, grave
Carved and painted wood
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer

Unknown artist, Ica Valley, Peru. Grave Board in the Form of a Paddle, 1300–1500 CE. Carved and painted wood, 76 ¾ x 9 ½ x 1 ½ inches. Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 1971.363.

height: 76.75 in, 194.9450 cm; width: 9.5 in, 24.1300 cm; depth: 1.5 in, 3.8100 cm
Mayer Center, Arts of the Ancient Americas
Arts of the Ancient Americas
This object is currently on view

Grave Board
About A.D. 1300–1500
Peru, Ica Valley
Carved and painted wood
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 1971.363

Large, heavy wooden boards with decorative carving were often placed in the tombs of Ica Valley nobility during the period when the region was ruled by the Inca Empire. On this example, the lowermost pattern resembles the decorative waistband of an Inca tapestry tunic, while the bird patterns above resemble local Ica-style textile designs. A row of three-dimensional human figures wearing semicircular headdresses surmounts the board. While the grave boards resemble dagger-boards (which help prevent boats from drifting off-course), their form is also similar to agricultural digging tools. The fragility of the decorated upper portions suggests that this board served a symbolic, rather than a practical function.


Known Provenance
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